BrainBlog

BrainBlog

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward"

From The National Academies Of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Health and Medicine Division
Board on Health Sciences Policy
Committee on Preventing Dementia and Cognitive Impairment

Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward
Released: June 22, 2017

Available here

Friday, June 16, 2017

Aphasia Awareness Month: Dr. Katharine McBride

As June is Aphasia Awareness Month, I note I recently submitted a chapter about aphasia to be published next year. Aphasia is the loss of acquired language abilities due to brain damage, such as stroke. Neuropsychologists are often called upon to determine the nature and severity of these changes to language functioning.

My contribution is a biography of Dr. Katharine McBride, a psychologist working with neurologist Dr. Theodore Weisenburg from 1929 through 1934. They created the first comprehensive aphasia testing battery that was based on the triad of: the use of psychometric tests, tests were standardized in format and scoring, and test performances included the comparative results of performances by healthy adults. McBride’s enduring contribution to aphasia assessment remains all the more exceptional as she started her role in this clinical research whilst still a graduate student.

Katharine McBride would leave psychological research to become the very successful fourth president of Bryn Mawr College (US), a position she held from 1942 through 1970. At the time of her naming in December 1941, she was one of the few women and, at 37 years of age, one of the youngest persons to become president of an American college or university. Her tenure was known for its promotion of diversity, equality of access, and equal rights across the spectrum of American society. Poet Marianne Moore’s poem about McBride calling her Bryn Mawr’s “creatively unarrogant president” remains a celebrated part of Bryn Mawr’s culture.

Monday, June 12, 2017

MOOCs: New Neurobiology Course From Dr. Peggy Mason

Dr. Peggy Mason reported on her blog and on twitter that she will debut a new version of her MOOC course later this year:

Blog post

The new course will follow closely the contents of the new edition of her textbook.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

OBIT: Dr. Isabelle Rapin

Isabelle Rapin, Who Advanced Concept of an Autism Spectrum, Dies at 89
By Richard Sandomir
The New York Times
09 June 2017

Article

Monday, May 15, 2017

Brenda Milner, Eminent Brain Scientist, Is ‘Still Nosy’ at 98

Brenda Milner, Eminent Brain Scientist, Is ‘Still Nosy’ at 98
by Benedict Carey
The New York Times
15 May 2017

Article

Friday, April 14, 2017

Structural MRI of the Hippocampus

This Open Access article is an informative read -

Marshall A. Dalton, Peter Zeidman, Daniel N. Barry, Elaine Williams, Eleanor A. Maguire
Segmenting subregions of the human hippocampus on structural magnetic resonance image scans: An illustrated tutorial
Brain and Neuroscience Advances
First published date: April-06-2017
10.1177/2398212817701448

A snippet from the Abstract -

"The hippocampus plays a central role in cognition, and understanding the specific contributions of its subregions will likely be key to explaining its wide-ranging functions. However, delineating substructures within the human hippocampus in vivo from magnetic resonance image scans is fraught with difficulties. To our knowledge, the extant literature contains only brief descriptions of segmentation procedures used to delineate hippocampal subregions in magnetic resonance imaging/functional magnetic resonance imaging studies."

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dr. Gerald Goldstein

Gerald Goldstein, Ph.D., died last week at the age of 85 years. He was an influential presence in the practice of neuropsychology as a clinical domain and as a science.

His career spanned over sixty years.

Here is a link to a 2015 celebratory article from the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System about him: Neuropsychology Researcher Celebrates 60 Years.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Call for Science and Common-Sense, Rather than Marketing and Drama, about Concussion and CTE

A fine Editorial Commentary:

Carson, A. (2017). Concussion, dementia and CTE: are we getting it very wrong? Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. Published Online First: 10 April 2017. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2016-315510

Upcoming Event: AAN Annual Meeting (22-28 April, Boston)

The Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology takes place later this month.

Conference Homepage

Perceptions of Parkinson's Disease

'People think I'm drunk but I have Parkinson's'
By Lindsay Brown
BBC Newsbeat reporter
10 April 2017

Read report here

[snip]

"Jordan was diagnosed with Parkinson's when he was 17 and says people often think he's had too much to drink."

[snip]

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

TBI: Cognitive Function and Methylphenidate

A very interesting Open Access publication available today examining the impact of methylphenidate and cognitive functioning in patients with a traumatic brain injury:

Manktelow, A. E., Menon, D. K., Sahakian, B. J., & Stamatakis, E. A. (2017). Working Memory after Traumatic Brain Injury: The Neural Basis of Improved Performance with Methylphenidate. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 11(58). doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00058

Monday, April 03, 2017

The Artwork of Greg Dunn

Beautiful work - Greg Dunn.

Epilepsy and Antiepileptic Drug (AED) Development and Clinical Trials

The February 2017 issue of Epilepsia has a fine critical review and invited commentary about the current state of AED drug development and clinical trials:

Bialer, M. et al. (2017). Progress report on new antiepileptic drugs: A summary of the Thirteenth Eilat Conference on New Antiepileptic Drugs and Devises (EILAT XIII). Epilepsia, 58(2), 181-221.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

New From Dr. Peggy Mason



A second edition of Dr. Peggy Mason's excellent textbook was published earlier this month. She can be found on Twitter at @neuroMOOC and her MOOC course remains available at Coursera.

Neuropsychology Abstract of the Day: When Self-Report Is Invalid...

From PubMed:

Bowler, R.M., Adams, S.W., Schwarzer, R, Gocheva, V.V., Roels, H.A., Kim, Y., Kircos, C.L., ... Lobdell, D.T. (2017). Validity of self-reported concentration and memory problems: Relationship with neuropsychological assessment and depression. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, doi: 10.1080/13803395.2017.1301392. [Epub ahead of print]

BACKGROUND: This study investigated the validity of self-reported concentration and memory problems (CMP) in residents environmentally exposed to manganese (Mn). METHOD: Self-report of CMP from a health questionnaire (HQ) and the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) was compared to neuropsychological assessment (Trails A&B; Digit Span; Digit Symbol; Similarities; Auditory Consonant Trigrams, ACT; NAB Memory; Rey-Osterrieth, Rey-O, Delayed). Participants included 146 residents from Ohio exposed to air-Mn, with a modeled average concentration of 0.55 µg m(-)(3) (range = 0.01-4.58).

RESULTS: Residents were primarily White (94.5%), aged 30-64 years (M = 51.24), with a minimum of 10 years of residence (range = 10-64). Ninety-four (65.3%) participants reported concentration problems, and 107 residents (73.3%) reported memory problems. More participants endorsed CMP on the SCL-90-R than on the HQ. The prevalence of self-reported CMP was higher for women than for men (88.4% vs. 68.3%). Point-biserial and Pearson's correlations between self-reported CMP and neuropsychological test scores were nonsignificant and weak for both the HQ (rpb = -.20 to rpb = .04) and the SCL-90-R (r = -.12 to r = .007). Greater levels of depression, anxiety, and female sex predicted having more self-reported CMP on both the HQ and the SCL-90-R. Air-Mn and blood-Mn were not associated with self-reported CMP. Residential distance from the Mn source accounted for a small proportion of variance (sr(2) = .04), although depression remained the largest predictor (sr(2) = .21).

CONCLUSION: These results indicate that self-report of CMP in Mn-exposed residents appear to be invalid when compared to neuropsychological test scores. The participants' misperception of having CMP is associated with less education and higher levels of depression. Neuropsychological assessment is recommended to attain valid results.

DOI: 10.1080/13803395.2017.1301392
PMID: 28353391

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Neuropsychology Abstract of the Day: Semantic Aphasia

From PubMed:

Dragoy, O., Akinina, Y., & Dronkers, N. (2016). Toward a functional neuroanatomy of semantic aphasia: A history and ten new cases. Cortex. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2016.09.012

Almost 70 years ago, Alexander Luria incorporated semantic aphasia among his aphasia classifications by demonstrating that deficits in linking the logical relationships of words in a sentence could co-occur with non-linguistic disorders of calculation, spatial gnosis and praxis deficits. In line with his comprehensive approach to the assessment of language and other cognitive functions, he argued that deficits in understanding semantically reversible sentences and prepositional phrases, for example, were in line with a single neuropsychological factor of impaired spatial analysis and synthesis, since understanding such grammatical relationships would also draw on their spatial relationships. Critically, Luria demonstrated the neural underpinnings of this syndrome with the critical implication of the cortex of the left temporal-parietal-occipital (TPO) junction. In this study, we report neuropsychological and lesion profiles of 10 new cases of semantic aphasia. Modern neuroimaging techniques provide support for the relevance of the left TPO area for semantic aphasia, but also extend Luria's neuroanatomical model by taking into account white matter pathways. Our findings suggest that tracts with parietal connectivity - the arcuate fasciculus (long and posterior segments), the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, the inferior longitudinal fasciculus, the superior longitudinal fasciculus II and III, and the corpus callosum - are implicated in the linguistic and non-linguistic deficits of patients with semantic aphasia.

Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2016.09.012
PMID: 28277283